Mikael Granlund has become a folk hero in his native Finland, appearing on a postage stamp after his puck-scooping goal against Russia at last year’s World Championships. Now he’s poised to make a mark in the State of Hockey.
The Minnesota Wild has inked Granlund to a three-year, entry-level contract.
“Now I’m a member of the Minnesota Wild and it’s a dream for me,” Granlund said. “I’m really excited.”
The Wild’s first pick (ninth overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft wanted to finish school and his military duties before signing with the Wild, but also used three seasons in the Finnish Elite League to develop his game. Granlund is equipped with an abundance of offensive skills, but was afforded time to help fill out his 5-foot-10 frame during his tenure in Europe.
“I’ve improved a lot of things,” Granlund said. “Everything as a player; I’m stronger and I think I’m ready to play in the NHL next season.”
A native of Oulu, Finland, Granlund has played for HIFK Helsinki in the Finnish Elite League for the past three seasons. Despite missing 15 games, he finished the 2011-12 regular season sixth in the league in points, 11th in goals, seventh in assists and T-11th in plus-minus rating. He totaled 51 points (20-31=51) in 45 games.
Granlund tallied 36 points (8-28=36) in 39 games in 2010-11 and helped lead HIFK Helsinki to the playoff championship scoring 16 points (5-11=16) in 15 playoff games. He led the league in assists and ranked tied for first in playoff scoring. He was named the Rookie of the Year in 2009-10 after scoring 40 points (13-27=40) in 43 games.
No stranger to international competition, Granlund has skated alongside Wild captain Mikko Koivu for Team Finland in the IIHF World Championships for two-straight years. He helped the Finns capture the gold medal at the 2011 World Championships ranking second on the team in scoring with nine points (2-7=9) in nine contests. Team Finland advanced to the bronze medal game of the 2012 World Championships, but was upset by the Czech Republic, 3-2. In the tournament, Granlund had a goal and four assists.
Granlund served as captain for Finland at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship and ranked tied for second in tournament scoring with 11 points (2-9=11) in seven contests.
The Wild adds Granlund to a highly anticipated group of prospects already signed, including forwards Charlie Coyle, Brett Bulmer, Johan Larsson, Jason Zucker and Zack Phillips and blue-line prospect Jonas Brodin. Granlund and the rest of Minnesota's prospects are scheduled to attend development camp July 9-15 at Xcel Energy Center, with plenty of opportunities for fans to get a glimpse at the future Wild.
“They will be teammates in the future, so (prospects camp) is a big thing for us,” Granlund said. Check out Granlund's PONDcast interview, here. Listen to Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher, Granlund and his agent, Todd Diamond, speak to the media, here.
Be one of the first 64 fans to become a new Season Ticket Holder and receive an autographed Mikael Granlund jersey. Call 651-222-WILD (9453) or for more information, click here.